The Importance of
Safety Manager Certification

By Albert V. Condello III Ph.D CSP CHMM

While you are in an undergraduate degree program, you should look at the exam requirements published by the certifying societies in your field.  These exams are a blueprint for the body of knowledge that you must know in order to pass a professional examination.  These documents also help prepare you for proficiency in your chosen career.

learn more about OSH degree programsYou may ask, ‘how can these blueprints assist me?’ The answer is that they serve as a guide to which electives you should take.  It is necessary to have exposure to the topics so that you are able to pass the exam.  The goal of any academic degree program is to prepare its graduates to be generalists in that specific field of study.

The Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM) in Rockville, Md., has an official blueprint for the Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) exam. The CHMM examination is a test designed to evaluate candidates seeking professional certification in the field of hazardous materials management.

The IHMM specification blueprint offers guidance to candidates by outlining reasonably expected duties and tasks based on surveys of what hazardous materials managers do in practice.

The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) has blueprints for both the CSP (Certified Safety Professional) exam (formerly the Comprehensive Practice exam) and the new ASP (Associate Safety Professional) exam (formerly the Safety Fundamentals exam). Beginning in the second quarter of 2015, the four domains that were in the ASP exam will be expanded to seven domains with such new areas as in Safety Management Systems and Environmental Management.

The reasons being that the BCSP no longer title the CSP and ASP examinations Comprehensive Practice or Safety Fundamentals, respectively, as they correspond directly to each certification. The new ASP examination will be available approximately May 1, 2015, after the psychometric evaluation is completed.

For those who are interested in pursuing a career in safety, the median pay for 2012 was $66,790. (US DOL – BLS 2012 Career Outlook Handbook)

The anticipated growth rate for the occupational health and safety field is about 7% annually for 2012 throughout 2022.  It is beneficial if you wish to become a safety manager to differentiate your resume from others by having a professional certification.

Two questions need to be answered when it comes to how certification applies to the professional field of safety.  One, why does anyone need professional certification? And two, why should you get certified to be a safety manager?

A certification program tests the knowledge, skills and abilities to perform a job. It assesses whether a student has learned specific objectives provided in an educational or training program. Becoming certified is evidence of a minimum level of professional competence.  

There are three main benefits to having a professional certification for safety manager. First, you have a better chance of being hired. Second, you have more room for salary negotiation when compared to others who are also certified in the region and across the country. And third, you have a depth of experience and exposure to topics so that you can be truly considered a generalist in your field.

What good is a six figure salary if you cannot maintain the expectations of your employer?  You need to invest in yourself and be honest where your weaknesses lay.  The next step is to focus on a personal development plan to strengthen any identified shortcomings.

I sincerely hope all of my fellow Columbia Southern University students and alumni perform well when expected to do so.  My wish to you is that you may be able to perform when asked to do so at the best possible level with any endeavor.  Please view these career challenges with an online safety degree as a way to help better yourself as a safety manager. 

View more information about the occupational safety & health programs at Columbia Southern University.


Albert V. Condello III Ph.D CSP CHMM, lecturer on safety management, environmental and fire protection engineering, currently is a professor at the University of Houston. Condello is also a graduate of Columbia Southern University